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Boston fêtes Swiss master of the poster

Leupin's designs proved a hit with Swiss brands such as Pepita.


The city of Boston is hosting the first major retrospective of the Swiss poster artist, Herbert Leupin, hailed as a pioneer of modern advertising.

Leupin created some of the most enduring Swiss advertising images, including the mauve Milka cow.

The Basel-born artist, who died three years ago, created more than 500 posters, 89 of which received awards at the prestigious Swiss poster of the Year competitions. Among his most successful product posters were those for Bata shoes, Bell Salami and Eptinger mineral water.


Leupin, born in 1916, was a leading exponent of the "Sachplakat" or 'object poster' style of the 1940s, a term coined in Germany to describe a new type of poster which featured a realistic depiction of the product and little else.

The craze for this poster type continued in Switzerland, where Leupin was among a post-war group of artists, mostly based in Basel, who made it their mission to represent the iconic beauty of everyday objects.

Leupin often suffused his work with humour - he used anthropomorphised animals to attract attention, including stallions that smoke cigars and parrots hawking fruit soda.

"He was one of the masters of the lithograph poster during the 20th century," says Jim Lapides, the president of Boston's International Poster Gallery.

One-man show

The retrospective marks the first time the gallery, which owns the largest collection of Leupin's work, is staging a one-man show.

"We felt that the quality and intensity of our collection deserved to be shown by itself," Lapides explains.

Visitors to the gallery will be able to feast their eyes on dozens of advertising posters, including many rare works from before the Second World War.

The exhibition runs from September 27 to November 15.


In brief

The works of Herbert Leupin, one of pioneers of the advertising poster, go on show in Boston.

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